Before we decided to try for round two of insanity (read also: getting pregnant), I made a careful decision to begin chiropractic care. Many of the mommy friends in our local Attachment Parenting group had been discussing the benefits of prenatal as well as pediatric chiropractic care, so I began to unravel the details concerning primarily chiropractic during pregnancy.
Dr. Jill Balla Shaw, of JBS Wellness in Gurnee, was the guest speaker at one of our AP meetings, and it was there that she began to unfold and demonstrate why chiropractic care was so necessary while mama is growing another human (read also: while mama's body is being taken over by crazy hormones and a ravenously hungry jumping bean).
"During pregnancy our primary concern is in balancing the pelvis," Dr. Shaw explained. "We want baby to have all the room it needs to grow without constraint, and we want baby to get into proper position for birth."
Initially, as she spoke, I was thinking that the uterus, which is where the baby grows, didn't have much to do with the spine. But I quickly found that I was mistaken.
"We look at the pelvis bowl, and specifically the sacrum (bone) at the bottom of spine, which is a triangle piece between the two large hip bones. We look at that because there is an attachment onto the round ligament. If the sacrum is pulled up on one side or the other, it causes the round ligament to pull up. That makes one side of the uterus smaller. This is where we see transverse position, inverse, breach or posterior positions."
As she explained, a light went off in my head. Gabe was posterior through out nearly 32 of my 36 hours of labor. I recalled also as she spoke, the horrible lower back pain I experienced through out my pregnancy and specifically during my labor. So what she said next didn't really surprise me.
"When women feel back labor, baby is face out instead of face back (posterior). Ideally, we want baby's head down and baby's face pointing toward the spine. When the back of the head is against the spine, it allows the largest part of head to go out first. When baby is posterior, it causes pain and back labor so women then may opt for drugs. And pain medication may cause a chance for Cesarean Section."
She had described my first labor almost exactly. I was lucky enough to have escaped without a C-Section, though. After I went to see Dr. Shaw for my first adjustment, she confirmed that my sacrum, among many other parts of my spine, was out of place. It likely had been out of place through out my entire pregnancy with Gabe, and the outage more than likely caused Gabe's posterior positioning and ultimately a long, painful labor.
"We want to get the sacrum back to a normal position and release some muscles and ligaments around the pelvis to keep it balanced," Dr. Shaw said. "Because pregnancy is such a short time and women have such a weight change, we have to stay on top of it so that a woman doesn’t get so out of whack that the baby doesn’t grow properly."
Of course, Dr. Shaw also provided some me with some results recorded in studies by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association so I could share them with you.
"Chiropractic care during pregnancy decreases the length of labor 40 percent in first-time moms and lessons it in second-time moms as long as they have had a vaginal birth," Dr. Shaw said. "It also helps with lower back pain pain and pubic symphysis dysfunction, which is when the pelvis itself is out of alignment. The pubic symphysis is the bony part in front even with the femur heads, and when it is out of whack, it is horribly painful."
So far, through out this pregnancy, Dr. Shaw has proven her statements are accurate: I have experienced considerably less back pain and overall general discomfort from the internal changes brought on by the pregnancy. She has worked with me consistently to relieve pain and pressure that has been brought about by the growth and movement thus far, and I cannot believe how excellent my lower back and sacrum area feels in comparison to the first pregnancy.
Additionally, Dr. Shaw has worked with me on balancing my nutrition with non-synthetic (read also: better digested) nutritional supplements. I think this has increased my energy greatly.
For more information about prenatal chiropractic care, please visit Dr. Shaw's Web site.